“No! Please, it wasn’t like that. I was trying to help him! He needed—”
But Sean raised a hand and turned his face away. “I don’t need any details, lass.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Deb asked.
“She’s bonded with Jamie,” Sean explained.
“But . . .” Laura frowned. “I thought that only happened if—”
“If they have sex?” Sean asked. “Aye, normally it does.”
“He got . . . stuff on my hand.” I remembered having to wash Jamie’s semen from my palm.
“Ew . . .”
Deb groaned. “And that’s enough for them to bond?”
“It’s the first time I’ve come across something like this,” Sean began. When Laura snickered, he scowled at her. “But it can happen in rare cases.”
“But what can we do?” Deb asked.
“Get her to somewhere comfortable.” Sean glanced around. “Ideally without attracting a lot of attention.”
Too late for that. Dozens of onlookers had already witnessed the situation.
“Maybe she’ll be okay here,” Deb suggested.
But claustrophobia gripped me. “Can’t . . . breathe!” My chest tightened, and I tried to free my hands, so I could claw at my shifting, earthly prison. But Laura and Deb held tightly, keeping me in place. I writhed and kicked, tearing furrows in the soft forest loam. Sean pressed down on my ankles, negating my struggles.
“Aw, not this as well!” Sean groaned. “Not here. Nadia, you have to stop!”
“Please!” I begged. “It’s . . . I can’t move!” I whimpered and whined, fighting against the unfair and impersonal restraint. My clothes tightened against me, adding a new element to my panic.
Stupid clothes! Stupid people! Leave me alone! I writhed, rolling over onto all fours. The restraining hands lifted from my limbs. Cries of surprise rang in my ears, but I took full advantage of the confusion and sprinted away, heading across the clearing and toward the only place that could offer me solace — the burrow. No one would see me if I hid in there. And somewhere, deep in the earth, were Jamie and his pack members. If I could find them, they could help me somehow.
But when I plunged into complete darkness and left the loud voices behind, the difficulty of my desire became real. The tunnel sloped steeply, and I skidded on the slippery, hard-packed ground.
Scent! I sniffed the air, turning my head this way and that in the narrow tunnel . . . and I found it. Laura’s perfume floated ahead of me, hanging in the air like a trail of delicious breadcrumbs. They would lead me to Jamie . . . or one of his pack! Crouching low, I scrambled forward, pushing hard with all four limbs. Shouts echoed from the tiny circle of light behind me, but I ignored them. I was completely focused on Jamie. He was all that mattered to me.